Sustainable Innovation from Lexmark
By Simon Williams · January 29, 2017
There is a huge emphasis placed on the printing industry being more environmentally friendly than ever before; with so many printer cartridges and other parts being thrown away and added to our ever-growing landfills, there has been a conscious effort to promote ethical ways of producing printing supplies.
As one of the biggest printer companies, Lexmark has played its own role in creating new ways of producing cartridges and other parts while making sure they weren’t leaving a negative mark on the environment.
Lexmark’s team in Juarez, Mexico has been working hard to introduce such new ways. Since 2010, the team in Juarez has reintroduced more than 2.5 million kilos of recycled plastic for use as new parts for Lexmark supplies. By recycling printing supplies, you are essentially recovering resources to make more printer cartridges and therefore are closing the loop on the production process.
The Lexmark Cartridge Collection Program (LCCP) collected empty cartridges returned by customers, including 100,000 a year from Australia alone. The materials that are suitable for reuse were separated from those that would benefit more from being recycled.
Towards the end of 2010, some of the components began to be molded with plastic that included a 25% blend of recovered, post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic. As additional types of plastic, and more of it, were recovered, there were rigorous controls and procedures put in place to ensure the post-consumer recycled plastic was of a high quality. Lexmark actually then increased the PCR content of some components up to 50%.
Their next challenge was to increase the PCR content up to 100%. Achieving safety certification of the material in 2016, this could go ahead.
Today there are 27 components produced with up to 100% closed-loop PCR plastic. Not only does this save money and protect the environment, it can also reduce the production of new plastics by more than 500,000 kilos per year.